ITVC Travel Health Advice for Brazil
White sandy beaches, rhythm filled days, landscapes and rainforests that sizzle, carnivals and excitement. These are all things associated with the rich heritage of Brazil. The country also has some serious health warnings around Yellow Fever and the Zika Virus. Here are some health and vaccination recommendations for Brazil to make sure your trip is unforgettable for the right reasons.
Travel Vaccination Recommendations
The health advice and vaccination recommendations below are also relevant if you are traveling to Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Surinam.
It is a good idea to ensure you are up to date with all the common childhood vaccinations before visiting Brazil (you may even need a booster). This includes immunisations for Tetanus and Diphtheria, Whooping cough (Pertussis), Hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
Brazil is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for Yellow Fever. A Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if you are returning to Australia from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Surinam and a vaccination certificate from an approved travel vaccination centre will be required upon re-entry. Yellow Fever mainly spreads from the bite of infected mosquitoes. We strongly advise travellers to vaccinate against Yellow Fever. The Yellow Fever vaccination is not compatible with some vaccinations so we recommend you seek travel vaccination advise well before the departure. Please note that the Yellow Fever Vaccination is a mandatory vaccination when travelling to some countries.
Hepatitis A (also called Hep A or HAV) is typically transmitted through contaminated food or very close personal contact with an infected person. Water-borne outbreaks can happen in under-developed or developing countries. The full two-dose Hep A vaccine is strongly recommended when visiting under-developed or developing countries and other precautions for hygiene and food safety should be taken.
Typhoid Fever is caused by bacteria (from the Bacteria Salmonella group) found in contaminated food and water. Food is commonly contaminated by the hands of carriers and examples of food that could be contaminated are ice, shell-fish from sewerage contaminated water, raw fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Typhoid fever occurs worldwide but is more common in developing countries. We strongly recommend protecting yourself by getting the Typhoid Vaccine if you are travelling to a developing country.
Depending on the destination, purpose and length of your trip a Rabies vaccination may be recommended. Rabies is typically transmitted by a bite or scratch from an infected animal. If you are intending to work on farms or work with other animals, we strongly advise you to have the prophylactic anti-Rabies vaccination. As this vaccination involves a series of three vaccinations it is recommended you plan ahead for it.
If you are travelling to Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Salvador) during carnival time, having a Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination is a wise choice. Meningitis can be viral, fungal or bacterial in nature. Meningitis is caused when the protective membranes (meninges) covering the brain and spinal cord become swollen and inflamed. Symptoms can be similar to those of the common flu. The different types of Meningitis differ in severity and the most serious bacterial form of Meningitis is Meningococcal Meningitis. Meningococcal Meningitis can be fatal. It is transmitted from person to person by direct contact and / through coughing and sneezing. Mencevax can protect you against this form of Meningitis.
The above vaccinations are recommendations only. See your travel doctor to get health and vaccination recommendations based on your overall health, age and your travel itinerary. Book your appointment online with the International Travel Vaccination Clinic well in advance of your trip because some vaccines may require a long period to take effect and more than one dose may be required.
OTHER HEALTH RISKS FOR BRAZIL
Other health risks when travelling in Brazil may be:
If you are travelling to areas of high altitude you should speak to your travel doctor about altitude sickness, recommendations for travelling at high altitudes and other relevant altitude information. Places such as Cuzco, Macho Picchu and part of Bolivia (La Plaz) are nearly 4000 metres above sea level.
Cholera is common in developing countries and is associated with poverty and poor sanitation. Cholera is a severe infectious diarrhoeal disease, caused by the Vibrio cholera bacteria. Untreated, Cholera can result in rapid dehydration and death. Cholera is most commonly spread through the ingestion of food and water that is contaminated by infected human faeces. The risk of getting Cholera can be significantly minimised by following proper sanitary practices and by following the rules of eating and drinking.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) should be considered when travelling to Asian countries.
Depending on your destination and how long you are travelling for, Malaria medications may be recommended. Malaria prevention is based on two defences:
It is best to consult your travel doctor for advice on the best Malaria medication based on your trip as Malaria is widespread and some strains of Malaria are chloroquine resistant.
Dengue (pronounced den-gee) Fever is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. It causes sudden fever, acute pains in the joints, headaches and nausea. It occurs in the sub-tropical and Tropical parts of the world such as Africa, Asia, South America and Australia. There is no medical treatment and no vaccine. Your best option is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Travelers to Brazil are at high risk for contracting the Zika Virus. The Zika Virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and often occurs without symptoms. In some cases however the virus can cause fever, rashes, severe headaches, joint pain and/or muscular or bone pain. There are no vaccines. Your best option is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Pregnant women and those attempting to get pregnant can transmit the disease to their unborn babies and should consider postponing their trip and discuss the implications with their doctor.
Traveller’s diarrhoea (TD) affects between 20-50% of travellers. It is identified as mild, moderate or severe depending on the number of unformed bowel movements a traveller experiences. It is often accompanied by fever, nausea, vomiting and/or blood in the stools. High-risk areas include developing tropical and sub-tropical regions in South-East-Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, The Middle East, Oceania and the Caribbean. TD can be caused by a variety of germs. Pack appropriate items in your Travellers First Aid kit for treatment and practice safe eating, drinking and hygiene on your travels.
Travellers to Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam should avoid contact with live poultry, poultry farms and bird markets and avoid contact with sick or dead poultry (chickens). Avian Influenza or Bird Flu is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that usually only infect birds and in some cases pigs. The main route of infection is from direct exposure to infected birds and their droppings. To date there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission. No vaccination is currently available. Avoidance and good hygiene practices are your best options.
- Travelers to Brazil should be aware that HIV/AIDS is also a significant risk. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Remember, cleaning your hands often using either soap and water or waterless, alcohol-based hand rubs removes potentially infectious materials from your skin and helps prevent disease transmission. Eating and drinking safely can also reduce the risks of getting ill on your travels.
See more Travel Health Advice.
The health-related information and vaccination recommendations on this website are general in nature. Your exact medication, immunisation or travel vaccination needs will vary depending on your personal medical history, vaccination history, current outbreaks and your travel itinerary / destinations. The information here should not replace a personal visit to a travel doctor to get up to date and individualised advice for your trip.